Little Barrie, Santos Party House, New York, NY- 5/8
Photo by Harriet Roberts
Located somewhere in between Chinatown and Tribeca, NYC’s Santos Party House plays host to a wide assortment of bands and djs who, on any given night, fill the city’s streets with various styles of music, adding to the already peculiar ambiance of this neighborhood. On May 8 the venue lent its stage to the British rock trio, Little Barrie, whose blues infused riffs drew patrons in from the rain. The band, made up of guitarist and vocalist, Barrie Cadogan, bassist Lewis Wharton and drummer Virgil Howe were in town for a few U.S. dates to promote the release of their upcoming album, Shadow, which teamed them back up with British alt-pop musician and producer Edwyn Collins.
Little Barrie’s hour-long set spanned their nearly ten year career, beginning with 2005’s We Are Little Barrie, and displayed the chemistry that this particular lineup have been perfecting since 2008, when Howe joined the group. Their sound, which draws on bands like The Stone Roses and Primal Scream, is the type of soul-infused garage-rock that isn’t easily found in today’s musical landscape, but is surely a reminder of the everlasting mystique tied to the rhythm and blues that makes up virtually everything that can be heard today. As a live act, the threesome has a straightforward delivery, with little time for banter in between songs. They’re not really there to chat. They’re there to play and are comfortable letting their songs speak for themselves. “Surf Hell” off of 2010’s King Of The Waves exemplified this ethos well as the group seemed to pour their energy into conjuring the same retro undercurrent found in all of their songs. “Pauline” and “Sworn In” are two songs off of Shadow that made their way into the setlist and much like the rest of Little Barrie’s catalogue, prove to be equal parts infectious and gritty.
Wharton and Howe are a strong rhythm section and effortlessly carry Cadogan’s dynamic guitar parts. Watching him live, it’s no wonder he’s been called upon to lend his guitar skills to Primal Scream, Mark Ronson, the Proclaimers and Morrissey to name a few. Thankfully, these days he spends his time playing with Little Barrie, who are heading back to the UK to finish off their tour where the trio will continue to spread the gospel of blues.